Boundary Marker No 18 - Tower Hill, London, UK
N 51° 30.565 W 000° 04.590
30U E 702866 N 5710529
Quick Description: A white painted iron marker about 12 inches high with a curved top. Engraved, in black, are and pheon/arrow (point up) the letters "W.D." and "No 18."
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/24/2012 11:36:53 AM
Waymark Code: WMEPTZ
There are 11 boundary markers, of 1868 and later. The markers are located within the jurisdiction of two neighbouring London authorities: the City and Tower Hamlets; the 11 designated markers that fall within Tower Hamlets are listed here.
From the middle ages until the late C19, the Tower of London and its environs - referred to as the Tower Liberty or Liberties - had a special administrative status. As a royal palace and garrison the Tower itself was a self-governing entity, distinct from the neighbouring City of London and County of Middlesex for the purposes of taxation, law enforcement and military service. At some point, seemingly by the early C13, its prerogatives were extended to cover the strategically important area immediately beyond its outer walls, comprising Petty Wales to the west, Tower Hill to the north and what is now St Katherine's Way to the east; for reasons of defence this buffer zone was to be kept free of buildings, although as London expanded to the east a degree of encroachment was inevitable. Disputes between the City and the Tower over the precise extent of their relative jurisdictions were rife in the C16, and created the impetus for a legal judgment of 1536 describing the exact boundaries of the Liberty, and for the first mapping-out of those boundaries in Haiward and Gascoyne's survey of 1597. The Tower's sphere of influence reached its maximum extent in 1686, when additional parcels of royal land in Spitalfields, East Smithfield and Little Minories were added to its domain.
The Liberty declined in importance during the C19: the outlying areas were removed from its jurisdiction, its legal authority was gradually reduced before being merged into that of the County of London in 1894, and its subsumption into the London Borough of Stepney in 1900 removed the last of its administrative responsibilities. It maintained a ceremonial existence, however: in a procession still held every third Ascension Day, the choir of St Peter ad Vincula Church ceremonially beat the boundary, delineated by a series of marker posts originally standardised by the War Department in 1868 and periodically renewed since. Bombing during the London Blitz and post-war road-widening led to the loss of many of the markers, although some were replaced or relocated. 22 of the 31 boundary points are still marked.
The Tower Liberty boundary markers are listed at Grade II for the following principal reason: Historic interest: as material witnesses to the Royal Liberty of the Tower of London, and its historic boundaries.
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